Saturday, December 29, 2012

Thoughts at the End of Day

Keep steady my steps according to your promise,
    and let no iniquity get dominion over me.

This interim week is always a little strange, wouldn't you agree? We spend the last half of November and the month of December looking forward to Christmas, some days running around like crazy, or baking till we collapse, or fitting crafts and cocoa and cards into an afternoon. Then Christmas comes, and goes, and we just kind of start breathing again. Whether we had unmet or fulfilled expectations, it matters no more, because the holiday is in the past now. And yet, there's another one coming, in just a couple of days. And with it, a new year, brimming with new plans and dreams and goals.

So...Christmas is over, and with it a slew of expectations, but the new year is coming with a whole new set of ideals. Have you ever been in a thunderstorm that quieted for a few minutes and then started up again, full force?

That's the feeling I get this week. I can let my hair down for a few days. I took the whole week to get caught up on my dishes and tidy the house (and it's still not done, truthfully). And everywhere, kids enjoy vacation, sometimes people take a break from work, families still travel, post-Christmas family get-togethers take place. But the world rests quietly for a minute or two. Stores feel like a beach after a hurricane. The leftover snow from a white Christmas has settled and grayed. The Christmas tree skirt lies wrinkled and empty below the tree...all presents are gone.

And I sit with my cup of chai and read blogs about New Year's traditions and wonder what holidays will be like when Charles is old enough to enjoy them (beyond eating the wrapping paper).

This is my thought for this week: Life is too short to do anything but rest and rejoice in the Lord.

Complaining because my ideals in the past year weren't met to the "T" or worrying because 2013 may not in every way live up to my expectations will only waste my time and energy. Time and energy that could be spend praising God and glorifying him by enjoying this life he has given me. I have such a blessed life. God blesses me every day in so many ways. I so dearly want to be to my family, and others around me, a living testimony to his goodness. A mouth that sings praise, not one that sing-songs complaints.

This verse from Psalm 119 has been the prayer of my heart this week:  

Keep steady my steps according to your promise,
    and let no iniquity get dominion over me.

I think I will let it be my prayer for 2013. I just want to keep moving steadily forward in the Lord, to continue to learn to walk in victory rather than being dominated by sin, and to keep my eyes on his promises.

I thank God he is allowing me to finish this year well in several personal goals. I look forward to walking with him in the coming year. He is good.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Some Favorite Shots of the Season

When you're a mom with a 9-month-old, snowy tramps with a camera are not really an option.  But that doesn't mean you can't find picturesque moments to capture within steps of your living room. :)

Below is Charlie's hand ornament. It's kind of a miracle that we got it so well, but here it is, in baked salt dough, painted and all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fa-la-la-la-la! Tis the Season!

 I already posted pictures of our wonderful tree, but I thought I'd put up some shots of the rest of our Christmas decor. I made these little Japanese lanterns from my Better Homes and Gardens magazine. They were far more complicated and at first didn't look as cute as they did in the magazine, but I like them with my garland on the banister!

My kitchen lights don't usually go for more than a couple days without getting pulled down by my starting-to-crawl baby. But I love the way they brighten up the kitchen!

This month I have sworn off desserts until Christmas eve, so in order to still utilize my cute Christmas mugs and yet not be tempted to fill them with hot chocolate, I put them as a centerpiece on our dining table with candles. 

And our TV stand arrangement: Nate's Pier 1 Imports Christmas trees. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


There is a reason I fly to my computer when my baby goes down for his nap. It's the same reason I normally scour the cabinets and fridge for munchables. And the same reason I like to wear my yoga pants all day. Or turn the TV on in the afternoon when we are tired and waiting for Daddy to get home.

It's called a Refuge.

A safe place.

Where I can hide behind something else and not have to face anything I'd rather not. Like the counter full of dirty dishes, or my relationship with God, or laying aside myself to play with my baby for one more half hour of the day.

The Bible says that God, Yahweh Elohim, should be my Refuge. And indeed, he should be! He is so good, so satisfying, so awesome, so strong, so safe! So why would I ever choose a handful of chocolate chips, or Facebook, or a reality TV show over this mighty, incredible God?

It's simply because to find refuge in God is to turn my back on my flesh. In Christ I have new life, and my flesh has been crucified. But until I am glorified with Christ in heaven, my flesh will always rear its ugly, demanding head, and try to pull me back to its clutches. And it wants nothing to do with my Creator.

To find refuge in Yahweh is to leave self and past behind and move forward, joyfully confident that his grace will be sufficient for all he calls me to do and be today. He empowers me and gives me the courage to walk through my fears or laziness and bring him glory with my life. It's still a safe place, but not because I'm hiding from something else. Instead, it is safe because I am trusting in the One who keeps me secure no matter what I have to face.

Yahweh says, "Come, let's do the dishes, or talk about our relationship, or play with Charlie for just 30 minutes more." My flesh says, "No, thank you, I'd rather curl up on the couch."

Thing is, the freedom found in my Refuge in God makes me sing, whereas the bondage of my idolatrous Refuge makes me sleep.

So, today, do I choose a Refuge of dissatisfied comfort or a Refuge of courageous freedom?

I think I'll go grab my Bible and spend some time with the everlasting God.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Our First Real Tree

 This Christmas, our second since getting married, we are living in a house big enough for a full-sized Christmas tree. My husband teases me because I am all about traditions and experiences and family time (secretly he likes it...I know because he tells me so). And so, we decided to start a family tradition and cut down a real tree! Charlie loved riding on the trailer behind the tractor and sitting in the grass and watching his daddy saw down the tree. Our very own! 
Definitely an exciting tradition to begin.

 The tree fits perfectly in the corner of our living room.
Loving it! 


Charles is a fan of the tree as well. Eating it, that is.